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Youth who drink before the age of 15
are 5 times more likely to have
serious problems with alcohol and
other drugs than those who wait till 21 to drink.
The Vernon Coalition grew out of a grass roots effort when concerned community members became mobilized following the drug overdose deaths of several young people in Vernon a few years ago. A key group of Vernon community stakeholders approached the Center for Prevention and Counseling (CFPC) in Newton where together they applied for and received a five year Drug Free Communities (DFC) federal grant enabling Vernon to establish its own community-based coalition. DFC Coalitions offer solutions and outcomes to effect change and growth in communities toward a healthier population. The Vernon Coalition is a program of The Center for Prevention and Counseling where they have been addressing substance abuse in Sussex County for over 40 years.
- YOU are invited to join The Vernon Coalition.
- YOU are important. All of our valued volunteers have skills and talents that are essential to our prevention planning. We have activities for everyone who is interested in joining- from local soccer coaches to business owners to parent groups, religious and youth/civic organizations.
- Find us on Facebook and Twitter, come to our monthly meeting or contact us by phone or email. We can do this together and we can do this successfully!
- Youth and adults can receive more information and/or become involved with coalition activities at www.centerforprevention.org/vernon.htm, or by looking up THE VERNON COALITION on Facebook and Twitter, emailing Annmarie@centerforprevention.org and by calling (973) 383-4787.
Click here to learn more about Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Talking To Your Kids
Try these parenting tips when talking to your kids about drugs:
- Understand that addiction is a disease of the brain that in almost all cases starts when your kids smoke, drink or use other drugs in adolescence when the brain is still developing.
- Acknowledge that marijuana, alcohol and tobacco are substances that are out there and that many people use them. Explain that tobacco and prescription drugs - like alcohol and illegal drugs - are also risky and can rewire your brain and increase the chance that you will get hooked.
- Start talking with your kids at an early age and take time to explain things to your child in basic terms that are easily understandable. Make your child comfortable talking to you about “difficult” topics such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
- Listen carefully to your child. Educate yourself so you can answer his or her questions. As children get older, their questions get more difficult, so you need to be prepared.
- Peer pressure may play a pivotal role in a child’s decision to use drugs. However, encourage your child to be their own person and make their own decisions.
- Tell your child the truth—that drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, may make them feel good for a while (by activating brain chemicals). Unfortunately, that feeling is brief and no one can know the true potency or lifetime effects of these substances.
- Try to impress on your child the long-term consequences drinking, smoking or using other drugs may have on something they enjoy doing, such as sports, driving or writing.
- Point out that adolescents are in a period of life during which they need their brains to operate at full efficiency. These substances can impair brain function.
- Make the point that repeated “chemical activation” will eventually cause people to crave that chemical and want to keep using it even if it hurts them.
- Explain that these substances may dull a painful part of their lives for a brief period, but it will never change or help the underlying situation.
- Write a family “contract” established to make your opinions on all types of drug use clear. Be consistent with family rules.
- Be a model of healthy behavior for your child.
Adapted from "Just Say Know: Talking With Your Kids About Drugs And Alcohol" - Cynthia Kuhn
Town Hall Meetings:
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Town Hall meetings are held around the country in April by coalitions and community groups bringing awareness to prevention of underage drinking. A big part of prevention is education, whether the focus is diabetes, cancer or kids using alcohol, these all require education to change attitudes and behaviors. Events that bring together prevention specialists and community members help everyone take positive steps to reduce underage drinking.
Back to School Night:
While visiting every school in Vernon for Back to School night in September, we were greeted by parents and school staff with friendly smiles and questions about what they needed to know about kids and substance abuse. From the perspective of the coalition, we have many listening ears and that's really great news. From Pre-School to Senior Year, parents are asking about the latest prevention tools and The Vernon Coalition continues to be a source for answers in the community. Vernon is a great town doing impressive work keeping youth focused on better decision making in a community motivated to creating positive environmental changes.
The Vernon Coalition offers free TiPs trainings through its federal grant which requires the coalition to support responsible alcohol serving in Vernon. Tina Thompson of The Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton, a certified TiPs trainer, instructs participants to recognize and address drunk patrons and identify underage drinkers with appropriate measures encouraging a responsible, safe and productive establishment. Many participants agree that these trainings are always imperative to review and improve their skills and to be able to include their TiPs certification on a job application is a great way to positively stand out when being considered for employment. Participants are tested after the training which includes watching video examples of scenarios, role playing with each other and discussing real situations that happen in their places of business. Another recommendation of the training is for establishments to purchase and keep a "logbook" where every employee records information about their shift. In the event of any concerns about patrons, this logbook verifies that the staff and business took every step to address the situation appropriately, legally and responsibly. Certification cards, which are valid for three years, are mailed to each participant's home after their tests are graded by Health Communications, Inc. If you are an owner or manager of a business in the Vernon area and would like more information or would like to host one of these free trainings, please contact Annmarie Shafer, Coordinator of The Vernon Coalition at (973)383-4787.